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Steaming ramen

January 25, 2015 in Course: Main, Cuisine: Japanese, Skill Level: Moderate

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Ingredients:
8 chicken wings
1 handful of pork bones, (ask your butcher)
750 g higher-welfare pork belly, (skin removed and reserved)
2 thumb-sized pieces of ginger
5 cloves of garlic
Olive oil
1 heaped tablespoon miso paste
400 g baby spinach
500 g dried soba or ramen noodles
8 small handfuls of beansprouts, (ready to eat)
8 spring onions
1–2 fresh red chilles
2 sheets of wakame seaweed
8 tablespoons kimchee
chilli oil
For the soy sauce eggs:
4 large free-range eggs
200 ml low-salt soy sauce
1 splash of mirin
4 star anise
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
Method:
Ramen is all about investing time to make an incredible steamy broth, using cheaper cuts of meat and bones for maximum flavour. Like many humble foods, the original Chinese ramen (meaning noodle) really evolved with its introduction to Japan and Western culture, which allows us to have a bit of fun with it, aka contrasting flavours, pickles and garnishes. Feel free to bend this recipe seasonally – that’s the spirit of it. Kimchee is a fermented cabbage that tastes great – hunt it out in good supermarkets.
To make the soy sauce eggs, boil the eggs for 5 minutes, then refresh in cold water and peel. Pour the soy sauce and 250ml of water into a small pan with the mirin and star anise. Peel, slice and add the ginger and garlic, then bring to the boil, remove from the heat, leave to cool and pour into a sandwich bag with the eggs. Squeeze out the air, seal, and pop into the fridge for 6 hours, then drain (this is important).
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the chicken wings and pork bones into a large casserole pan. Bash and add the unpeeled ginger and garlic, then toss with a good drizzle of sesame oil. Put the pork skin on a baking tray and place both tray and casserole pan in the oven for around 40 minutes, or until the skin is perfectly crackled, then remove for garnish. This is also the perfect time to transfer the casserole pan to the hob, adding in the pork belly and miso. Cover with 3 litres of water, bring to the boil, then simmer gently on a low heat for around 3 hours, or until the pork belly is beautifully tender, skimming the surface occasionally.
Lift the pork belly onto a tray and put aside, then sieve the broth and pour back into the pan. Return to the heat and reduce the liquid down to around 2.5 litres. While doing this, put a large colander over the pan and steam the spinach until it’s wilted. Let it cool, then squeeze out the excess moisture and divide into 8. In a separate pan, cook the noodles according to packet instructions, then drain and divide between 8 large warm bowls with the beansprouts and spinach. Slice and divide up the pork, then halve the eggs and place around the bowls. Trim the spring onions, finely slice with the chilli, and sprinkle between the bowls. Taste the broth and season with soy sauce, then ladle the steaming broth over everything. Tear over the seaweed and divide up the kimchee. Drizzle with chilli oil, then break over the crackling. Slurp away!